Limitations of a modal analysis of before and after

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Toshiyuki Ogihara
Shane Steinert-Threlkeld


This article takes a critical view of Beaver & Condoravdi’s (2003) modal analysis of before and after. According to their proposal, the clause headed by before or after denotes the earliest possible time at which it is true. We first show that the original proposal presented by Beaver & Condoravdi (2003) faces difficulty with anti-veridical before-clause cases. We then incorporate eventualities (events and states) into a revamped proposal in which the existence of an eventuality that could lead to a before-clause eventuality and that parallels a very similar eventuality in the actual world is used as a criterion for selecting the set of alternative worlds. This allows the alternative worlds to differ from the actual one at a time earlier than the matrix clause predication time. However, this revision still suffers from counterexamples that involve before clauses that refer back to a time before the matrix clause eventuality. This discussion leaves room for the possibility that an extensional account might offer a better analysis.

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